Tuesday, October 19, 2010

The Big Read, part 5: Pitch-a-Palooza!

The Pitch-a-Palooza at the Big Read festival was an opportunity for authors to pitch their novels and receive feedback from David Sterry and Arielle Eckstut, authors of The Essential Guide to Getting Your Book Published. The person with the best pitch won a consultation with a leading literary agent.

I had looked at the Big Read website, but I hadn't seen anything about this event. But, as it turned out, I was able to get a spot even though I hadn't signed up in advance.

There were about forty participants in all. We were each assigned a number. When it was our turn, we had to step up to a podium on the stage and gave a one-minute pitch. I pitched a children's chapter book. The facilitators said it was a strong pitch, which was great to hear--but cautioned me not to "bury the lead" ... in other words, get to the interesting part more quickly. They emphasized the vast quantity of material an agent has to read just for his/her current clients, not even counting queries. In light of that, they said, it's essential to get to the point right away.
It was fun hearing the other authors' pitches, and everyone seemed to find the feedback helpful. Being able to hear the advice given to others was very valuable.There was a wide variety of genres represented, and many of the pitches were quite polished. The audience was friendly and encouraging--we were all in the same boat, after all--and each pitch was followed by cheers and applause. By the end of the session there was a strong feeling of camaraderie as we chatted about our works in progress and wished each other luck in finding an agent.

I bought a copy of The Essential Guide to Getting Your Book Published--it looks like it will be a good resource.


Jess said...

What a fantastic experience; thanks for sharing! I would have been so nervous, but you're right in terms of us all being in the same boat. That's why I love this community--other people really understand what we're going through (unlike some friends of mine, who are supportive, but can't really empathize).

Ruth Donnelly said...

Yes, it was really cool to be among so many people who "got it". Thanks for commenting, Jess!